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Pennsylvania county demolition funds for blighted properties: a rural and urban divide

By Anthony Hennen Blighted properties are a problem in every county across Pennsylvania, and a proposed bill would make permanent a new fee counties can impose to raise funds for demolition. SB439, sponsored by Sen. David Argall, R-Berks/Schuylkill, would remove a 10-year sunset provision from Act 152 of 2016 that authorizes counties to create a …

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Pennsylvania tax revenues stronger than anticipated, $580 million above estimates

By Anthony Hennen Pennsylvania’s tax receipts were strong for March 2022, with the Independent Fiscal Office revising its projections up by $580 million from its August estimate. Sales taxes, personal income taxes, and corporate net income taxes drove the rise, indicating that the economy is recovering from pandemic-related slowdowns. The labor force participation rate and …

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Bill would give Pennsylvania voters power to reject any new taxes

By Anthony Hennen A proposed bill could mean more ballot referenda in Pennsylvania to prevent controversial tax increases, and also make it harder for localities or the General Assembly to boost tax revenues. Rep. David Rowe, R-Union/Snyder, introduced HB2432 to amend the Commonwealth’s constitution to add ballot questions during primary elections that would allow voters to override …

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New local taxes for public transit may be on the way for some Pennsylvania counties

By Anthony Hennen Public transportation funding has been a growing concern in some cities, and a proposed bill could give some Pennsylvania counties the authority to levy local taxes to support their transit systems. Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery, introduced HB2366 to grant Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties the ability to levy taxes “​​for transit …

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New report argues it’s time for public-sector union reform in Pennsylvania

By Anthony Hennen A new report from the Commonwealth Foundation argues that Pennsylvania can increase economic growth and give workers more choice and freedom in their life – if the General Assembly reforms its government union like Wisconsin did a decade ago. “Government unions have enormous political power in Pennsylvania, due to a host of special legal privileges …

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Pennsylvania universities ask for more funds, talk up keeping tuition low

By Anthony Hennen College costs and student debt remain high, and the Senate Appropriations Committee’s hearing with the leaders of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities was about how the General Assembly can help schools, rather than why its leaders aren’t doing more. While leaders of Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln universities noted more funding from the …

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Pennsylvania parks a major source of revenue – for recreation and natural gas

By Anthony Hennen Pennsylvania’s state parks and game lands boost the state’s economy, livability, and attraction for future generations, top officials from the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources said. Testifying in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Senators focused on the economic potential of state parks and developing natural gas to provide …

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Pennsylvania Legislature plans divestment from Russia

Writen by Anthony Hennen The Pennsylvania General Assembly is preparing to divest the Commonwealth’s connections to the Russian economy in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.  “I will work with my colleagues in the state government to stop supporting anything that helps Russia,” Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, said at a protest outside Philadelphia City …

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Staffing Pennsylvania prisons remains problematic

By Anthony Hennen | The Center Square (The Center Square) — The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections continues to deal with worker shortages as the effects of COVID-19 have changed how prisons in the commonwealth operate. A Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday heard testimony from the heads of the Department of Corrections and Board of …

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Inflation, workforce issues dominate Pennsylvania House budget hearing

(The Center Square) – Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development discussed inflation and staffing challenges, as well as the Wolf administration’s decisions to close businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, during a third day of budget hearings in the House Appropriations Committee. State Rep. Lynda Culver, R-Northumberland, highlighted record inflation numbers from …

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Report: School-choice demand shows why Pennsylvania lawmakers should expand programs

(The Center Square) – A new report is highlighting the record high demand for Pennsylvania’s school-choice programs as evidence lawmakers in Harrisburg should consider better ways of expanding access for families. The Commonwealth Foundation report looks at enrollment figures gleaned from public right-to-know requests for Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax …

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Department of Justice flags Pennsylvania courts for opioid use disorder discrimination

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Department of Justice is ordering the Pennsylvania court system to change how it deals with individuals prescribed medication for opioid use disorder after finding courts in multiple counties violated the American with Disabilities Act. An investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found Courts of Common Pleas in …

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Pennsylvania lawmakers host first hearing on legalizing recreational marijuana

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee’s first hearing on legalizing recreational marijuana featured testimony from state and local officials, law enforcement officers and security officials in the commonwealth’s medical marijuana industry. Committee Chair Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, highlighted the shift away from prosecuting minor marijuana possession crimes in recent years and …

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court takes over congressional redistricting process

By Victor Skinner (The Center Square) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an emergency application to take over the commonwealth’s congressional redistricting process, though the Commonwealth Court judge overseeing the case will remain as a special master. The Supreme Court’s order granting emergency application for extraordinary relief lays out the process and timeline the high court …

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Wolf sides with local governments in rejecting gun rights bill

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation designed to protect Pennsylvania residents’ Second Amendment rights against municipalities that enact restrictive gun ordinances. “Once again, this governor has failed to live up to his oath to ‘support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth,” said …

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Revised economic forecast shows higher revenue estimate for Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released an updated economic forecast for fiscal year 2021-22 that shows higher than anticipated revenue, driven by stronger wages and inflation. The IFO’s mid-year update for fiscal year 2021-22 showed general fund revenues were adjusted upward from nearly $42 billion to $45.3 billion, accounting for a …

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Pittsburgh bridge collapse shines light on Pennsylvania’s infrastructure

(The Center Square) – As President Joe Biden highlights billions of dollars in federal funding to improve roads and bridges, an early Friday morning bridge collapse near Pittsburgh is highlighting the commonwealth’s infrastructure needs. Ahead of Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh on Friday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg stood alongside Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and …

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Lawmaker proposes school choice for Pennsylvania students in poor-performing districts

(The Center Square) – A Pennsylvania state senator is proposing a new school-choice program for students who live in the commonwealth’s poorest-performing public school districts. Sen. Judy Ward, R-Hollidaysburg, penned a memorandum to her colleague, soliciting co-sponsors for legislation to create new Lifeline Scholarships for students struggling in the commonwealth’s lowest-achieving school districts. “Under this …

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Bill to increase caps on school-choice tax credit programs clears Pennsylvania Senate committee

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor (The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee advanced legislation Wednesday to automatically expand school-choice programs during times of high demand. Sen. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, pointed to his experiences with troubled youth during his law enforcement career and the attitude of disregard for education in some …

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Pennsylvania Senate Republicans score court victory in elections investigation

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has denied a request by legislative Democrats and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to block the release of voters’ information to the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee investigating the 2020 general election and 2021 primary. The Senate committee subpoenaed the Pennsylvania Department of State in …

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Pennsylvania’s highways rank near bottom of U.S.

By Victor Skinner (The Center Square) Pennsylvania’s highway system is among the worst in the nation, ranking 39th out of 50 states in the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report. The annual report examines the cost-effectiveness and condition of each state’s highway system using 13 categories: total disbursements per mile, capital and bridge disbursements per mile, …

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Wolf signs legislation to reduce elderly prescription drug costs and expand broadband infrastructure

By Victor Skinner (The Center Square) Gov. Tom Wolf signed nine bills into law this week, including legislation to reduce prescription drug costs for the elderly, expand broadband infrastructure, and allow virtual public meetings and instruction. Wolf signed House bills 291, 1255, 1260, 1837, and 2071, as well as Senate bills 208, 772, 729 and …

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Gov. Wolf signs legislation to address the state’s substitute teacher crisis

By Victor Skinner, The Center Square House Bill 412, sponsored by Rep. Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland, is designed to help alleviate the statewide shortage of substitute teachers by giving schools flexibility to fill positions with retired, inactive or student teachers. “The declining number of teacher certificates issued in Pennsylvania, plus the strain of bringing back students …

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Pennsylvania gun bills facing certain veto

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Republican Pennsylvania senators approved two gun bills this week that Gov. Tom Wolf already has promised to veto. Senate Bill 448 adds to an existing preemption statute by prohibiting municipalities, of which more than 2,500 exist in Pennsylvania, from enacting firearm ordinances that contradict state law. Senate …

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Wolf establishes Pennsylvania Office of Environmental Justice

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order establishing a permanent Office of Environmental Justice as yet another piece of his administration’s climate strategy. “We must do the hard work to prevent further climate damage, to mitigate environmental pollution and the unfair harm it causes to vulnerable communities, …

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Pennsylvania’s election audit on hold amid lawsuit

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s election audit remains on hold this week as Senate Republicans defend their subpoena for voter records that Democrats contested in Commonwealth Court as unconstitutional.  “Our filing on Friday is scheduled as part of an expedited review petition to the court that is designed to resolve the …

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Pennsylvania college system asks for ‘historic’ funding increase

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will ask the Legislature for $550 million in funding next year as it continues its massive redesign amid dwindling enrollment. PASSHE Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia Shapira said Thursday the request is vital the organization’s “future and mission.” “It reflects …

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Pennsylvania college system asks for ‘historic’ funding increase

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will ask the Legislature for $550 million in funding next year as it continues its massive redesign amid dwindling enrollment. PASSHE Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia Shapira said Thursday the request is vital the organization’s “future and mission.” “It reflects …

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Pennsylvania AG to formally announce gubernatorial bid on Wednesday, according to report

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will formally announce his candidacy for governor on Wednesday, according to a report from The Associated Press. It’s news that’s been months in the making after Shapiro, a former congressional staffer, state representative and Montgomery County commissioner turned two-term attorney general, said …

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Pennsylvania House approves voucher expansion for economically disadvantaged schools

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – House lawmakers passed a measure Tuesday that expands the size and scope of tuition vouchers for Pennsylvania’s economically disadvantaged schools.  Three Democrats joined all of the chamber’s Republicans in approving House Bill 1642, which lowers the threshold for schools to qualify as economically disadvantaged under the law. …

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Pennsylvania lawmakers pass six month extension on regulatory waivers

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a six-month extension for hundreds of regulatory waivers while lawmakers consider a more permanent fix. House Bill 1861, which addresses up to 500 suspended regulations, heads to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk after both chambers unanimously approved the measure Wednesday. Prime sponsor Rep. …

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Pennsylvania not immune to national school bus driver shortage

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – State officials took an unusual step Thursday and reached out to more 375,000 commercially licensed drivers in hopes of covering a growing school bus driver shortage. Kurt Myers, deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), told reporters the pool of qualified bus drivers has shrunk …

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Lawsuit filed against Pennsylvania school mask mandate

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Less than a week after the Department of Health ordered universal masking in Pennsylvania schools, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration faces its first legal challenge on what many critics consider a shameful last-minute policy reversal. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, leads a group of parents and …

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Bipartisan election reform bill brewing in Pennsylvania Senate

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – A second election reform bill appears likely in Pennsylvania this year. The chairs of the State Government Committee began circulating a cosponsorship memo earlier this month for their joint plan, which allows for a three day pre-canvassing rule, continuous video surveillance of ballot drop boxes, tightened application deadlines …

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Most Pennsylvania counties shrank, Census data finds

(By Kristen Smith – The Center Square) – Most of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties saw population declines over the past decade, with a few exceptions near Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The news comes from the latest U.S. Census data released Thursday, which reported Pennsylvania’s total residents exceeded 13 million in 2020, leaping over Illinois to become the fifth …

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Pennsylvania hospitality trade group sponsors vaccine clinics

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – As the COVID-19 delta variant spikes cases nationwide, one Pennsylvania hospitality trade group signed onto the immunization effort as the state trails its 70% statewide goal. “Remember the shutdowns, the massive layoffs, and business closures? The hospitality industry is starting a slow recovery process and PA Restaurant …

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Pennsylvania activists protest Biden’s ‘wasteful’ infrastructure plan as he rallies across the street

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Activists with Americans for Prosperity stood across the street from the Macks Trucks plant in Lehigh County where President Joe Biden stumped his multi-trillion infrastructure proposal on Wednesday to protest the “wasteful” spending it contains. “When most folks think of AFP and our activists, they think of …

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Scranton mayor presses Congress to naturalize undocumented immigrants through budget reconciliation

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti said this week Congress should use budget reconciliation to naturalize millions of undocumented immigrants as recognition for their sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We already needed to deliver pathways to citizenship as nation, even before the pandemic,” she said during a call with …

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Study: Public employees make up 11.7% of the Pennsylvania workforce, 2nd lowest in U.S.

(By The Center Square) The share of the Pennsylvania workforce employed by local, state or federal governments was 11.7 percent prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the second lowest percentage among the 50 states, according to a new study from the website 24/7 Wall St. The public-sector workers in Pennsylvania numbered 622,046, based on 2019 data compiled …

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Pennsylvania raises medical assistance income cap

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Workers with disabilities in Pennsylvania can now earn up to $61,000 annually before losing access to some of their medical assistance benefits. Act 69 became law on July 1 and nearly doubles the $32,000 income cap for the program in an attempt to address widespread unemployment and underemployment …

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Over Republican objections, key panel endorses Pennsylvania’s entry into carbon reduction program

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A key panel endorsed Pennsylvania’s entry into a carbon emissions reduction program scheduled for early next year, brushing aside concerns from Republican lawmakers that the move would accomplish little other than hurting the state’s economy. The Environmental Quality Board voted 15-4 on Tuesday to adopt the Department …

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Republicans in Pennsylvania will crowdsource new congressional map drawings

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers said Monday they will crowdsource opinions about how best to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional district map this fall. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, told reporters at a news conference in Bucks County that redistricting is “one of the most important processes the legislature will undertake” …

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Forensic election audit initiated in Pennsylvania; AG vows to strike back

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A Republican senator in Pennsylvania initiated the first steps this week of a forensic election audit, even as the state’s top law enforcement official promised intervention should the effort continue. Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, said in an editorial Wednesday he’s requested information and materials from three counties needed for …

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Senate approves Pittman’s bills to modernize legislation for physician assistants working in Pennsylvania

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – State Sen. Joe Pittman has introduced legislation to support the work and practice of physician assistants in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 397 amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act and Senate Bill 398 amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985. He said modernizing these bills will encourage more physician …

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May unemployment rate in Pennsylvania dips to 6.9%

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in May, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.  The state released the updated data Friday. It showed Pennsylvania’s jobless numbers still outpace the national unemployment rate of 5.8%.  Total nonfarm jobs increased by 18,500 month over month, while the …

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Legislation to create Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program advances in Pennsylvania Senate

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – Legislation sponsored by Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw to create an Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program was unanimously approved recently by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 465 would provide additional technical support to expand on-farm conservation practices throughout Pennsylvania. Farmers and landowners would partner …

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Lawmakers renew effort to halt carbon emissions caps in Pennsylvania

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A Pennsylvania House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would interrupt the state’s plan to limit carbon emissions from Pennsylvania’s power sector starting early next year. This, after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed an identical measure in September that would have halted the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulatory …

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Bill to create grant program to revitalize hospitality and tourism industry

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers have partnered with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association to introduce legislation that would create a grant program for hospitality and tourism businesses struggling to recover from COVID-19 shutdown orders. House Bill 1487 is sponsored by Reps. Todd Polinchock, KC Tomlinson, Meghan …

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Pesticide spraying in Pennsylvania aims to slow spread of invasive spotted lanternfly

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square contributor) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has begun to spray insecticide to prevent the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly, which primarily attaches to vehicles and trains to spread across the country. The aggressive treatment is funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Gov. Tom …

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Pennsylvania’s budget battle takes shape

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – It’s budget season in Pennsylvania and lawmakers have just 30 days until the state’s newest spending plan comes due. This year’s challenge, however, comes not from a lack of funds, but rather how the General Assembly will spend the $7.3 billion in federal economic stimulus it received …

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New lobbying rules proposed in Pennsylvania

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – House Republicans unveiled nearly a dozen bills on Wednesday aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s lobbying rules. Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, said it’s the second major update to the Lobbyist Disclosure Act he’s proposed in 15 years, though he admits the announcement comes just days before the Legislature’s busiest …

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Lawmakers attempt edit of Pennsylvania’s disaster declaration

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – State lawmakers moved a resolution Tuesday that would edit Pennsylvania’s existing disaster declaration to prevent business closures and stay-at-home orders should COVID-19 cases rise again. House Resolution 106 advanced out of the State Government Committee on a party-line vote after Democrats criticized the move as premature and …

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Voters approve ballot questions limiting Pennsylvania governor’s emergency powers

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Unofficial election returns show that nearly 54% of voters in Pennsylvania support constitutional amendments that limit the governor’s emergency powers. Some 1.9 million ballots have been counted, according to the Department of State, as of Wednesday morning. The official tally likely won’t come until next week as …

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Pennsylvania lawmakers consider preempting local utility ordinances

(Christen Smith: The Center Square) – Some Pennsylvania lawmakers said Tuesday the state should advance legislation that prevents local officials from enacting policies that limit energy choices. Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Williamsport, said he sponsored Senate Bill 275 in response to a growing national trend of local officials discriminating against utility connections based on the source …

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Lawmakers Eye Work Search Requirements, Loosened Regulations in Pennsylvania’s Economic Recovery

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania House lawmakers support reinstating work search requirements for unemployment claimants and said loosened regulations will bolster the state’s economic recovery. The Department of Labor & Industry said, however, that the manpower shortage businesses face is not a result of suspended work search requirements or the $300 weekly jobless benefit enhancement …

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Takeout Cocktails on Permanent Track in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – The same day public health officials announced an easing of the last COVID-19 restrictions, state lawmakers moved a bill that would make at least one pandemic rule permanent: takeout cocktails. The House Liquor Control Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a proposal that would allow bars and restaurants to sell as much as …

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Philadelphia Union Sued for Planned Strike

(The Center Square) – A Philadelphia union faces legal action after a New Jersey-based food distributor claims an impending strike violates its collective bargaining agreement. J. Ambrosi Food Distribution filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania last week alleging that officials from Teamsters Local 929 harassed its workers and threatened their jobs if they refused …

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Pennsylvania Bill Would Help Farmers Adopt Conservation-Friendly Practices, Improve Watersheds

(The Center Square) – A proposed program designed to bring conservation-friendly financial resources to farmers across Pennsylvania could come to fruition if recently introduced legislation is enacted. State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Bradford, is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 465, which calls for the creation of an agricultural conservation assistance program. The legislation currently is in …

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PennDOT Says Proposed Interstate Bridge Tolls ‘Not Permanent’

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said last week proposed tolls for nine interstate bridges won’t be permanent. PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that the tolls will remain in effect for the length of the contract the state enters into with the private developer responsible for …

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No Vaccine Passports for Pennsylvania, Health Officials Say

(The Center Square) – Public health officials in Pennsylvania are saying they will not follow in New York’s footsteps and adopt vaccine passports. Rather, acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said during a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting Thursday that the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force sees easing hesitancy as its most urgent priority. “Really, what …

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Lawmakers Block Governor’s Pick For Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Over RGGI

(The Center Square) – Republican senators issued Gov. Tom Wolf an ultimatum on Thursday in yet another effort to derail the state’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  In a letter to Wolf signed by 27 members of the Senate Republican Caucus and Sen. John Yudichak, I-Luzurne, the lawmakers said they would not confirm his nominee …

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Pennsylvania AG Officials Launch Grant Program to Help Farmers With Projects

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has launched a new grant program aiming to help the state’s farmers with a variety of projects. “Pennsylvania’s more than 53,000 farms are the backbone of our reliable food system,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “They are the heart of Pennsylvania, just like this $1 million …

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Despite Mass Cancellations This Past Year, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex ‘Doing OK,’ Ag Secretary Says

(The Center Square) – While the revenue-generating events schedule within the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center was nixed this past year, the Harrisburg-based venue remains on a solid financial footing, a state official reported recently. The vitality of the 24-acre complex, long viewed as a sign of Pennsylvania’s largest industry, has come into …

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Pennsylvania Treasurer Asks For $3 Million Budget Increase

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity said Tuesday her office needs a $3 million budget increase to hire more staff, replace equipment and bolster its fraud protection services after a taxing year under pandemic conditions. “I’m a committed fiscal conservative and am dedicated to frugality and the wise use of taxpayer dollars,” she said during …

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Pennsylvania Completes Teacher Vaccination Effort

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday marks the end of a three-week campaign to vaccinate school workers across the state. As of April 2, the administration said more than 112,500 educators and support staff received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The state estimated about 200,000 residents were eligible under …

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Tax Group Says Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Will Increase Utility Bills in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – Americans for Tax Reform said Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s plan to raise corporate taxes to fund a $2 trillion infrastructure package will translate into higher electricity bills for Pennsylvania residents.  John Kartch, vice president of communications for the group, noted that utility companies pay corporate income taxes, and the rates customers pay remain tied …

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Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Abortion Restrictions in Pennsylvania Dismissed

(The Center Square) – A state judge dismissed a lawsuit on Friday that challenged the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortions. Commonwealth Court President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said the petitioners – including seven reproductive health care centers that provide 95% of abortions across the state – lack standing because she “can ascertain no …

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Pennsylvania lawmaker says no state funding for schools that stick to virtual learning

(The Center Square) — A high-ranking Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania said Wednesday the state should withhold funding from schools that don’t return to in-person instruction full time. Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, said he will push other House lawmakers to amend the state’s School Code to prevent districts, technical schools, community colleges or universities from accessing $16.6 …

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Emergency Constitutional Amendment For Sexual Abuse Survivors Blocked in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – The effort to extend the litigation window for survivors of child sexual abuse suffered a crushing blow this week after lawmakers blocked an emergency constitutional amendment necessary to get the measure on the ballot in May. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, said Monday her caucus concluded that elevating the amendment …

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Pennsylvania Senate Cautions Smart Use of Federal Education Dollars

(The Center Square) – The American Rescue Plan delivered more than $5 billion in stimulus to Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, but senators last week urged caution when spending the “windfall.” Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that some of the money comes with strings attached so that schools …

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